With fresh fish caught off the Chesapeake Bay, a growing craft beer scene, and a surprising number of barbecue joints, Virginia Beach has pretty much everything you could want in a dining hotspot.
But for years oysters have provided a unique eating experience.
Lynnhaven oysters are a local delicacy and were renowned by English settlers in the 1600s, not only for their taste but for their size. Some people claimed they were “as big as dinner plates!”
They disappeared in the 1960s when the Lynnhaven River was temporarily closed for harvesting, but they have slowly and surely made a comeback over the last decade, becoming a much-loved dish once again.
The state is so famous for its oysters, boasting eight distinct flavor regions, that the governor declared November “Virginia Oyster Month.”
But you don’t have to wait until November to get your oyster fix, as Virginia Beach has plenty of restaurants able to fulfill your craving for oysters all year round.
Nestled in the heart of the Virginia Beach oceanfront, The Atlantic is an oyster/craft cocktail bar that celebrates seafood - not just from the east coast - but the west coast too.
All the while they support local and regional fishermen, crabbers, oystermen, farmers, and producers. But even if you don’t eat seafood, the Atlantic still has a lot to offer with a varied menu.
Of course, a good oyster needs a great wine, and The Atlantic’s wine list has been hand-selected for only the best-suited pairings with their menu.
With 15 wines per glass, you’re sure to find the best wine to go with their signature baked oysters.
Established in 2013, Blue Seafood & Spirits is known for its fresh seafood, lock beers, signature drinks, and award-winning desserts.
Not only do they have amazing oysters, but their specialties include crab cakes and tempura fried shrimp.
All their seafood dishes are based on a ‘buy fresh, buy local’ philosophy. This philosophy not only ensures freshness and quality but also boosts the local economy.
Whenever possible, Blue Seafood and Spirits source fresh produce and seafood, as well as hormone-free meats all the while supporting small, local businesses.
Their selection of local beers, spirits, and wines is forever growing, and they are more than happy to accommodate special diets. With gluten-free and vegan options, Blue Seafood and Spirits has something for everyone.
Tuesday night is oyster night at this 5-star restaurant with a difference. Despite their high star rating, the vibe of Hot Tuna is ‘surfer chic.’
A proud member of the Farm-to-Fork Movement, Hot Tuna’s menu features ingredients that are fresh, seasonal, and local.
Eastern Shore seafood and produce from local farms are staples in their varied menu, which includes everything from Ahi tuna to gourmet gouda burgers.
That adventurous spirit is alive and kicking in the bar too, with their bartenders serving up hand-muddled mojitos, homemade sangria, and organic margaritas.
Perched 183-feet above the Atlantic, Orion’s Roof is a modern rooftop garden showcasing refined Asian fusion cuisine and handcrafted cocktails.
Chef Hisashi Araki celebrates the best of land and sea, elevating his fusion dishes to new heights. The dazzling display of sushi and sashimi is expertly prepared in the Japanese-Prevuian Nikkei tradition.
Soak in the picturesque views under the Virginia Beach stars while enjoying elegant, beautifully prepared dishes.
Located in the heart of the historic Cavalier Hotel, the Hunt Room is an intimate American tavern that evokes a bygone age where men warmed themselves beside great hearths after long fox-hunts, sipping bourbon and telling stories.
You’ll feel right at home there, sipping at a cocktail or sharing a meal with family and friends.
Their handcrafted cocktails and simple, rustic menu are deeply traditional, offering the finest cuts and freshest ingredients from local farms and fisheries.
Father/son chef team John Rosario and John Matthew Mannino partnered with Dara Gavin to open ‘Olde World’ Italian Bistros to serve great Italian food at a reasonable price.
They opened the first Mannino’s Italian Bistro in 2008 and have since opened another, both offering the same fresh homemade recipes and excellent customer service.
Since then, Mannino’s has become an icon of Virginia Beach, thanks to its attention to detail and its ability to make guests feel at home.
Terrapin Restaurant has been serving the finest quality food to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront since 2006, with the goal to make great food with honest ingredients and providing excellent service along the way.
Their menu is free of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup without sacrificing flavor, thanks to the freshest ingredients from local sources. Terrapin’s passion is supporting sustainable, organic farmers and fishermen.
Their superb menu is backed up by the Open Table Top 50 Restaurants in the Country “Best Overall” Award.
Much like the Hunt Room, Becca is also located in The Cavalier Hotel at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
This garden-to-table restaurant is modern and sophisticated, boasting bright dishes made of locally sourced ingredients.
Their seasonal menus and cocktails are always bursting with flavor, and are dependent on the availability of locally grown produce and freshly caught seafood.
Becca is one of the best places to eat in Coastal Virginia, with its elegant menu of elevated, modern dishes that are never pretentious.
Located on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk and with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Catch 31 offers a farm-to-table menu with everything you could ask for.
They’ve got it all, from hardwood grilled fish, succulent steaks, sumptuous desserts, and an out-of-this-world raw bar.
Their fresh produce and seafood are sourced daily by their chefs from local farms and docks and are prepared in several ways from mesquite wood-fire grilled, bronzed, or blackened.
The fresh, local ingredients mean that the menus change daily and are subject to availability. Still, whether you’re in the mood for some comfort food, or some expertly prepared seared tuna, Catch 31 is sure to have the fish dish you’re craving.
For the best view at this iconic location, try to grab a patio table with a fire pit overlooking Neptune’s Park. Not only can you enjoy great food and a great view, but free live entertainment nightly (when in season).
Rockafeller’s opened its doors in 1989 as a family-owned and operated restaurant in Virginia Beach.
All these years later they are still committed to fresh food and excellent service, continuing to develop new and appetising recipes while updating their classic menu items.
Rockafeller’s strives to incorporate the freshest and highest quality ingredients into their recipes while keeping prices reasonable.
Their local vendors include fishermen, oystermen, crabbers, brewers, and farmers, so not only do you enjoy a delicious meal at Rockafeller’s, you’re doing so whilst supporting local business.
With veteran employees who have been at Rockafeller’s for over 10 years and plenty of awards to the restaurant’s name for the work they have done in the community, Rockafeller’s really is a restaurant that cares.
They have supported several good causes throughout the area and have been involved in numerous community programs.
From a small bait and tackle shop to a favorite local restaurant, Bubba’s has changed a lot in the last 30 years!
From the famous she-crab soup to the award-winning view, Bubba’s main goal is to deliver a great dining experience.
You can take a seat on the deck and watch the sunset over the Lynnhaven while sipping on some fine wine, or watch the fisherman deliver fresh fish to Bubba’s dock daily!
Opening in 2007 and located near the oceanfront, Eurasia Cafe serves regional American cuisine that is seasonal, local, and fresh.
Their ever-changing menu utilizes the best of regional and local purveyors, with fun and creative cuisine in a charming, quaint setting.
What’s more, there is a wine shop attached to Eurasia Cafe, that also specializes in regional fare made from locally sourced ingredients.
If you live in the Tidewater area, you’ve probably eaten at Surf Rider - or at the very least heard of it! Known for its home-style cooking, fresh oysters, and seafood platters, Surf Rider first opened in May 1980 when Liz Massey and her son Stanley Bennett wanted to serve up some humble cooking in a restaurant setting.
At first, they ran everything, from the cooking to the serving, the bussing to the cleaning up, soon building Surf Rider as a beloved local favorite.
The original Surf Rider restaurant was located in Virginia Beach at 17th and Mediterranean and unfortunately closed after 20 years. But Surf Rider lives on in numerous locations, popping up across Tidewater in 1988.
Chris, Stanley’s son, is at the helm of the business but Stanley is still there behind the scenes! That hands-on approach is still present today.
You can often see Chris creating specials, training new employees, placing orders, and even cooking a few nights a week!